I have been asked a lot how we do it with a big family and two kids who have special needs, so I thought it might be fun to give you a picture of what a day in our life looks like. So here goes….
5:30am Glenn gets up and tries to have a few quiet minutes to collect himself before the barrage of kids hits him. Meanwhile, Kaki is screaming and hitting the wall in her room because she is up and thinks she should be allowed out of bed anytime she is up. I try to ignore all this and get a few more minutes of sleep.
6:00am Glenn finally lets Kaki up from bed and the boys get up too. He gets inundated with requests for food and whatever else anyone can think of that they need. All the while I am trying to get a few extra winks of sleep before I too have to join the chaos. Glenn gets Kaki dressed for school (read wrestling a greased pig) and gives her medication. He also has started making her a protein smoothie which she downs, “like a race horse”, because we are having major eating issues with her and she refuses to eat solid food. I have no idea why. Just one the many mysteries we have dealt with since she came home last December.
6:15am I sneak, as quietly as possible, from my room to the bathroom next door to take my shower. If I make too much noise they will hear me and then come running to attack me with requests and I am just not ready for all that yet.
6:30am Glenn comes into the bathroom to shave while I am finishing my shower. We hear screaming from the living room and he goes to check it out. Kaki is standing in front of the little boys while they are trying to watch TV. She loves to do this because she knows it irritates them. He moves her away and she cries and gets mad. He comes back to the bathroom to try to shave again before another interruption. I get out of the shower and sneak back into my room to get dressed. The kids still don’t know I am up, and I like it that way.
7:00am Glenn leaves for work which means I actually have to come out of hiding into the kitchen. When I come in, I get four requests for food and a meowing cat. I feed the cat, dog and kids as quickly as possible in the order of who is fussing the loudest. All the boys sit at the dinning room table to eat and Kaki hovers over them attempting to steal food. I tell her to move and she says, “no”, so then I have to go move her myself, she gets mad and hits me and cries. (I have no idea why she will steal other people’s food and won’t eat her own).
7:15am I make my own breakfast just in time for someone to spill something. I go clean up the mess and come back to find my breakfast eaten by the cat. I make more breakfast for myself and eat it quickly while checking email.
7:30am I dress the two little boys and fuss at the big boys to get dressed. I brush their teeth and make sure the potty, lest we get out to the bus stop and have a potty emergency. I get them all dressed and let them play for a while, while I get some household chores done like emptying the dishwasher.
7:50am I get Kaki, Elijah and Joshua ready to go out to the bus stop with shoes and coats. Puiting a coat on Kaki requires Sam to come hold her hands so she doesn’t smack me. Then me and the three kids get into our van and drive down the street to Joshua’s bus stop. The two big boys are at the house and are supposed to be starting school work. (sometimes they do). I leave Kaki in the van parked near the bus stop because if I get her out of the van I will have to endure the hitting again, just to have to put her back in 10 minutes later. Me and the two little boys wait for the bus. Joshua’s bus comes and he gets on, so proud of himself. I get Elijah back into the car and drive back to our house. I get Elijah and Kaki out of the van and we walk up the driveway to wait for her bus. Her bus finally comes and I have to “encourage” (read push) her to get onto the bus. I bring Elijah and myself back into the house and breathe a sigh of relief for a moment knowing my two most difficult kids will be gone until 4pm.
8:30am I come in from the buses and start school with Sam, Jordan and Elijah. I get them started on something and then try to get some laundry done. Then, we move onto something else and I try to get dinner started. I try to reteach myself 5th grade math so I can help Sam and I realize I am not smarter than a fifth grader. I give up and tell him his dad will help when he comes home.
9:30am We stop for snack
10:00am we get more work done or go run errands if we have to.
12:00 We eat lunch
1:00pm I put Elijah down for nap and help the big boys get started on whatever they might have not finished in school and then I lay down for a rest.
2:30pm I get up and come into the kitchen to clean it from lunch and work on homeschool planning, emails or whatever other task I can before Elijah gets up.
3:00pm I get Elijah dressed and give him a snack and do more household chores, like the laundry I forgot was in the washer from the morning.
4:00pm I go out to wait for buses. Kaki’s bus comes and I have to pull her off the bus, meanwhile my mom drives in the driveway with Joshua, since their buses come at the same time in two different locations. I get everyone into the house and empty backpacks.
4:30pm I get snacks for everyone and change their school clothes. I read to Joshua and make sure I know what we are doing in homeschooling for the next day and reload the workboxes.
5:00pm I start work on dinner and empty the dishwasher from lunch while breaking up fights from grumpy, tired children who are driving me nuts!
5:30pm Glenn comes home and I finish dinner prep
6:00pm we eat dinner
6:30opm clean up dinner and tell big kids to go shower
7:00pm make sure big kids have showered and put little boys in the tub. Then we bring Kaki into bathroom and shower her. This takes two people, imagine trying to bathe a cat. We bathe her, dress her and then bathe and dress the little boys.
8:00pm we heard everyone into bed and hope they stay there. Then we fall on the sofa and watch mindless TV for a while.
That’s it. Despite the craziness of the day sometimes, we enjoy it for the most part. Having a big family is never boring. How are we going to do all this when our newest baby, Luke, arrives sometime in the next 5 weeks? We just will. We have added four kids in four years to our family and we somehow find a way to make it work each time. You have to hold things loosely and realize that each child is a blessing and they will not stay little for long. The days are long and the weeks are short.